It was just a matter of time before the private equity firms that backed Tribune Media through its bankruptcy and revival, now as a broadcast power, would want out. And three of its biggest shareholders — Oaktree Captital, Angelo Gordon & Co, and JP Morgan Chase — are beginning that process today: They announced a secondary stock offering to sell 25% of their holdings, potentially for more than $653.8 million with a proposed maximum price of $61.53 per share.
They’ll unload 9.2 million Class A shares, and gave underwriters led by Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan Securities an option to pick up an additional 1.4 million shares. None of the cash will go to Tribune. The company has 92.4 million Class A shares outstanding, as well as 2.4 million Class B ones. In December the company began trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Last month the company announced that it will give shareholders a special $6.73 per share dividend tomorrow, and would begin to offer a quarterly dividend of 25 cents per share.
Tribune emerged from bankruptcy at the beginning of 2013, and CEO Peter Liguori has refocused it on TV production and data. In August the company spun off its publishing operations, which included the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, and the Hartford Courant. Now Tribune Media collects about 88% of its revenues from entertainment operations including its 42 TV stations, WGN America, and Tribune Studios which produces series for WGN and syndication including Salem, Manhattan, and Celebrity Name Game.
This morning’s secondary stock offering at Tribune follows one announced last night by Lionsgate Chairman Mark Rachesky.